After six suicides in three months and 140 attempts in a two week period in Cross Lake, Manitoba, Kleefeld singer/songwriter Robb Nash made the trip to perform and speak to the students and staff.
Nash says through his six years of touring he has received 463 suicide notes and countless razor blades along with pictures and videos of kids ripping or burning suicide notes. He adds he has also received suicide notes from teachers because it's not only children who suffer from suicidal thoughts and actions.
When picturing a reserve Nash says there is the stereotypical image of run down buildings but his experience in Cross Lake was contrary adding there were nice houses with paved roads and great leadership at the school.
"I think it's phenomenal on their leaders that have made the call and brought attention, brought support in. But I wish people would do that before it gets to a state of emergency and hope this starts a conversation where support now is provided by more people elsewhere, not just in this one community and I hope this story doesn't disappear in the next month."
Nash says there were a lot of kids he saw have breakthroughs during the show on Thursday and he received many razor blades and nine suicide notes from students. He notes he was impressed by the staff who were engaged and aware of the students who were crying or surrendering their notes and blades to follow up with them later.
When there are six suicides in three months Nash notes it affects the other students and he's seen it before where someone loses and friend and the desire or ability to see hope disappears.
"So we've been able to go to a lot of schools directly after a tragedy and through our music and the stories we tell we try to provide that spark of hope. Everyone knows tragic stories but we try to share stories about kids that have gotten off the train tracks and found there is another way out of the room, and not just out the window."
Although he has a passion for what he does Nash says he wishes his job wasn't necessary and the kind of pain people experience in life and the pain of suicide didn't exist. In the early years of his music career when he had top 10 radio hits and was touring with big name bands Nash says everyone was chasing success but he has come to realize that's only another step and not the top of the staircase. He explains significance is how your life impacts the people around you and the next step after success is significance; using what you have to impact others in a positive and meaningful way.
"I think the biggest thing with our show is, we're all going to see tragedy, but what are you going to do when it happens, and why wait? Why wait to see a tragedy within your own community, within your own school? Why don't we step up and do something prior to that happening."
Nash adds the child tagged as a trouble child or the child who doesn't fit in, he finds are some of the most talented individuals. As for the future of the 'Robb Nash Project', Nash says they are currently booking shows into 2018 and hopes to continue impacting more and more people.